Earlier this year, Amazon managed to sneak its Appstore into Google Play inside the official Amazon app. At the time we wondered how Google would respond, and a few months later it looks like we finally have an answer.
The Amazon app mysteriously vanished from Google Play this week. It no longer shows up in search results, and while you can still find it via direct link it looks like you can’t actually download it to your device. In its place, the e-commerce giant has released a new Amazon Shopping app that offers pretty much the same experience, just without the Appstore.
So what happened? Android Police points to a recent update to Google developer agreement, which blocks developers from offering their own competing app stores inside Google Play. “You may not use the Store to distribute or make available any Product which has a purpose that facilitates the distribution of software applications and games for use on Android devices outside of the Store,” it reads.
Amazon also offered an official statement, which seems to confirm why Google booted its app:
We launched a new Amazon App for Android Phones on September 9 that provides an award-winning mobile shopping experience, enables customers to discover and purchase all of Amazon’s digital catalog, and provides customers access to the Prime Instant Video player and unlimited streaming of over 40,000 movies and TV episodes. Google subsequently changed their Developer Distribution Agreement on September 25. As a result, we removed the app from Google Play and published the Amazon Shopping app. Customers who want the best Amazon experience on their Android phone, including access to Prime Instant Video and Amazon’s entire digital catalog, can still get the Amazon App for Android Phones at amazon.com/androidapp.
That seems pretty definitive, and we don’t expect Google to reverse its decision anytime soon. For now, you can still use the original Amazon app on Android using the company’s workaround, or check out the new Shopping app and see which you prefer.